[ilds] Alcoholism

G. R. Taneja grtaneja47 at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 5 05:19:39 PST 2015

"After that, all bets are off...  Biographically, MacNiven presents the 
mid-1950s as particularly liquid and the 1980s as especially so, for 
different reasons.All best,James"
Very well put James.

G R Taneja

In-between Website: 

G. R. Taneja 
 /  Editor

In-between: Essays & Studies in Literary Criticism

 of English, R. L. A. College, University of Delhi

Anand Niketan 
Colony, Benito Juarez Marg,

New Delhi-110 021,  India 

> To: ilds at lists.uvic.ca
> From: james.d.gifford at gmail.com
> Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2015 07:48:57 -0800
> Subject: [ilds] Alcoholism
> Welcome to the listserv Rick!
> The alcoholic writer can be a cliche mainly because there are so many 
> ready examples (Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Djuna Barnes, Lowry, &c.). 
> Often there can be a tendency to diagnose from a distance 
> (self-medicating for depression & such), but I'm dubious of those kinds 
> of conversations with dead people.  I've never been sure how to read the 
> matter in the fiction for Durrell -- for Hemingway, "drunk" or "tight" 
> carry broader meanings, almost allegorical, and certainly a conscious 
> part of the construction of the text.  I don't really see the same in 
> Durrell, although it could be interesting to be convinced otherwise.
> There is a bit of shift in alcohol across the works as well.  In /Pied 
> Piper of Lovers/ (1935) there isn't much alcohol at all, apart from a 
> peculiar cocktail at a party (bunny hug) and a first juvenile 
> indulgence.  By /Panic Spring/ (1937), there's an empty bottle of gin, 
> but not for Durrell's alter ego Walsh.  From around the same time 
> biographically, Theodore Stephanides recounts Durrell and Miller 
> discovering a Corfiot cafe with much English gin, to their great 
> satisfaction (in Stephanides' memoirs from James Brigham's papers).
> After that, all bets are off...  Biographically, MacNiven presents the 
> mid-1950s as particularly liquid and the 1980s as especially so, for 
> different reasons.
> All best,
> James
> On 2015-11-25 5:40 AM, Rick Schoff wrote:
> > As new to the list, I find these discussions fascinating. As I've
> > mentioned, I am simply an avid reader of Durrell, and have reread the
> > fiction in particular many times. I've read one informative but not
> > particularly interesting bigraphy, as well as numerous articles about
> > Durrell over the years. I recently found a copy of Richard Pine's
> > "Mindscape" and look forward to reading that.
> >
> > In reading comments by scholars, some of whom spent ime with Durrell,
> > and seeing issues raised such as professed unhappiness, boredom,
> > violence in fiction and real life, and self-loathing - I couldn't help
> > but recall numerous references over the years to Durrell's use of
> > alcohol. I often hesitate to read biographical material about artists
> > whose work I greatly admire, but having delved a little into Durrell's
> > life, I couldn't help wondering what effect Durrell's alleged steady
> > drinking might have had on his life and work. I understand he was a
> > ferociously intelligent man with boundless energy, who led a
> > fascinatingly exotic life. I saw one comment by someone who knew him (I
> > don't recall who) that relayed that when writing Durrell lived on the
> > 'edge of madness'. I couldn't help but wonder about the psycholgocal
> > aspects.
> >
> > For many reasons, I proffer this issue very tentatively, but my interest
> > and curiosity have gotten the better of me. 'Alcohol and the writer' is
> > almost a cliche, but I don't find anything of Durrell's cliched. He was
> > an original.
> >
> > - Rick Schoff
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